Need to catch up? Check out the previous Game of Thrones recap here.
Time to find a cozy, fortified and tough to find nook to hole up in, Game of Thrones faithful, because it looks like the Battle of Winterfell is nearly upon us.
Though Sunday’s episode began by holding Jaime accountable for shoving Bran out a window in the series’ premiere, it ended with Daenerys, Jon and the rest of the good(ish) guys preparing to fight off the Night King’s army as it approaches the Starks’ ancestral home. Let’s hope those catapults hold!
Elsewhere, we spent some great, quiet moments with our Westeros favorites. Brienne finally got the recognition she’d long yearned for. Arya had ye olde V-card punched. Daenerys became privy to the knowledge she’s been shtupping her nephew. Y’know, the heartwarming stuff.
Read on for the highlights of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”
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HOUSE LANNISTER: PARDON-ME EDITION | The hour opens with Jaime standing trial, of a sort, before Daenerys. Not only is khaleesi mad about the whole him-killing-her-dad thing, she wants to know where Cersei’s army is. “I see one man, with one hand. It appears your sister lied to me,” she notes. “She lied to me, as well,” Jaime replies, adding that he wants to fight for the living. Tyrion jumps in to defend his brother, but Sansa says not to trust the Kingslayer, because he attacked Ned and his men in the streets of King’s Landing way back when. Jaime says they were at war, and he was protecting his family. “The things we do for love,” Bran pipes up, in a callback to the series’ premiere. [Side note: Creepy Bran FTW!]
Brienne stands and notes that Jaime saved her live, and that Sansa is alive because of him. “He armed me, armored me and sent me to find you and bring you home because he’d sworn an oath to your mother,” she says, which sways the redhead a little bit. And because Sansa trusts Brienne implicitly, “We should let him stay,” the Lady of Winterfell rules. And when Jon says “We need every man we can get,” it’s all over but the flop sweat drying: Grey Worm hands Jaime a sword, Jaime thanks Daenerys, and that’s that.
Behind the scenes, Daenerys rips into Tyrion for believing his sister and says that if he can’t help her take back the Iron Throne, “I’ll find another Hand who can.” Aw, poor Tyrion.
HOUSE STARK: IS-THAT-DRAGONGLASS-IN-YOUR-POCKET-OR-ARE-YOU-JUST-HAPPY-TO-SEE-ME? EDITION | Arya checks on Gendry’s progress on making her weapon. He tells her that she should go down to the crypt when the fighting begins, because it’s safer. She asks/mocks him about being a fighter, but then her curiosity takes over. “What are they like?” she wonders. “Bad, really bad,” he says gravely. But she wants DETAILS. “This is different. This is death. You want to know what they’re like? Death. That’s what they’re like,” he adds, getting all insistent. So she says she knows death, and casually flings a few blades to drive home her point, and he’s impressed/scared. “My weapon?” she asks. “I’ll get right on it,” he says.
HOUSE LANNISTER: LONG-TIME-COMING EDITION | Jaime finds Bran in the godswood and apologizes for crippling him for life. “I’m sorry for what I did to you,” Jaime says. “I’m not that person anymore.” Bran is all “the end is the beginning is the end” about it and says that he didn’t out Jaime as his attacker because he’s needed in the fight, and that if Bran were still Bran he wouldn’t be the three-eyed raven and honestly this scene is just too low-key adult for me.
Afterward, Jaime and Tyrion catch up in the courtyard. The upshot: Cersei is good at lying, but she’s telling the truth about the pregnancy. Jaime says that their sister is great at snowing people, but Tyrion stops him: “She never fooled you. You always knew exactly what she was, and you loved her anyway.” Then they talk about how they’ll likely die at Winterfell, which at least will deny Cersei the pleasure of murdering them. “Maybe after I’m dead, I’ll march down to King’s Landing and rip her apart,” Tyrion jokes.
Then Jaime and Brienne talk military strategy. The words “left flank” are uttered, but alas, not in the way I always hoped in my fan fiction heart of hearts they might be. She calls him out on how he hasn’t ever talked to her this long without insulting her, so he gets to the point of the matter: “I’m not the fighter I used to be, but I’d be honored to serve under your command if you’ll have me,” he says, perhaps more humble than he’s ever been, including the time he nearly passed out, naked, in a hot stew of his own filth and shame. She’s touched, but merely says, “I’d better get back,” and walks off. GUYS. I am kvelling.
HOUSE STARK: MAKING-NICE-WITH-THE-SISTER-IN-LAW EDITION | Jorah finds Daenerys and advises that he forgive Tyrion, even though he always thought he’d be her hand. And then he urges her to go make nice with Sansa, which gives us a truly great scene between these two powerhouses. Tyrion “never should have trusted Cersei,” Dany says. “You shouldn’t have, either,” Sansa replies. This honesty seems to draw Daenerys closer to Jon’s sister; she brings up that they’ve both ruled over people coughmencough who weren’t inclined to recognize their positions of power, so can’t they find some common ground? Sansa points out that Jon is in love with Daenerys, and men tend to do stupid things for the women they love. Daenerys points out that she diverted from her original plan of world domination to help Jon fight his war, so “Tell me: Who manipulated whom?” Sansa then apologizes for not thanking Daenerys the moment she arrived at Winterfell, and there’s some warm, girflriendly conversation until Sansa asks what happens after Daenerys takes the Iron Throne: “What about the North?” Did anyone else feel that chill run through the room? (And no, I’m not talking about Theon’s abrupt arrival.)
Dany can’t understand why Theon is there without Yara. “I want to fight for Winterfell, Lady Sansa, if you’ll have me,” he says simply. And she runs to him and hugs him, and NO, GAME OF THRONES, I WILL NOT FEEL FEELINGS RELATED TO THEON.
HOUSE EVERYONE ELSE | Gilly and Davos help the locals figure out whether they’ll be fighting (basically, all the dudes and able-bodied women) or hiding in the crypt (basically, the old, the moms of young ones and kiddos) when the dead arrive. There’s a sweet little girl who says she wants to fight, so Gilly deftly asks her to protect everyone down in the crypts, and the girl agrees.
Then the men of The Wall arrive, and Tormund gives Jon the biggest man hug you’ve ever seen. He announces that the dead will be there “before the sun comes up tomorrow,” then stays on brand by asking, “The big woman still here?”
HOUSE SOMEBODY’S-GOTTA-HAVE-A-PLAN | Everyone gathers for a strategy session, where Jon says that taking out the Night King could be their best bet at winning, but Jaime says Big Frosty will never show himself if that’s true. But Bran points out that he’s the perfect bait to draw their enemy out into the open, because he wants to destroy the Three-Eyed Raven: The Night King’s goal is annihilation of all personhood, and who’s more aware of all the stories of humanity than the lanky teen who can see literally all events in the human timeline? And he’ll find him via the mark on his arm from when he grabbed Bran way back when.
There’s a lot more about who’s guarding whom and when, but then Tormund surprises me by having the most poetic line of the bunch: “We’re all going to die, but at least we’ll die together.” So everyone disperses, leaving Tyrion and Bran alone together. Tyrion wants to hear Bran’s story, but the boy says it’s a long one. “If only we were trapped in a castle, in the middle of winter, with nowhere to go,” Tyrion quips.
Outside, Missandei and Grey Worm have a confab. He’ll fight for Daenerys until her enemies are vanquished, but afterward, “Do you want to grow old in this place? Is there nothing else you want to do?” he asks. She says she’d like to see the beaches again, and he says he’ll protect her and make it happen.
Sam and Jon discuss how Jon hasn’t told Daenerys about the whole being-her-nephew thing, and there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimpse of Ghost in the corner. Jon gives Sam leave to join Gilly and Sam in the crypts, and Sam gets all huffy about how he was the first to kill a white walker (
though wasn’t that really Jon, when he was saving Lord Commander Mormont? As a few of you have pointed out in the comments, Jon killed a wight but Sam was the first to kill a white walker. I stand corrected!). Dolorous Edd, who’s joined them, mocks him. It’s sweet, really.
HOUSE TARTH: IT’S-ABOUT-DAMN-TIME EDITION| Elsewhere, Bran’s story must’ve been a lot shorter than advertised, because Tyrion has joined Jaime for some reminiscing about the first time they visited Winterfell. They’re drinking to “the perils of self-betterment” when Brienne and Pod walk in, looking for somewhere warm to hang out before the carnage begins. Then Davos and Tormund arrive, and it’s a party! “It could be our last night in the world, you know?” Big Red says by way of bow-chicka-wow-wow, but it doesn’t get him very far with Brienne. Undeterred, he tells a disturbing story about suckling at the teat of a giant (I guess you had to be there), then drains his horn (not a euphemism).
Later, Tyrion says he thinks they might survive, and as he’s recalling their greatest victories, it comes up that Brienne is not an official “Ser,” because “Women can’t be knights,” she tells Tormund. “I’m no king, but if I were, I’d knight you 10 times over,” Giantsbane replies, but Jaime’s all, “That’s nice. Hold my heavy, golden arm.” He announces that any knight can make another knight, and then tells Brienne to kneel. He puts his blade on her (sadly, this time, just a euphemism) and blesses her, then tells her to stand, because she’s now “Ser Brienne of Tarth.” Everyone claps. She nearly cries, and smiles so widely. I die, the Lord of Light resurrects me, and then I die again of the sweetness. (And if you want to go deep on this moment, take a look at this.)
HOUSE CLEGANE | Arya finds The Hound sitting outside and joins him. He can’t believe she’s not talking. “Guess I’ve changed,” she says, wondering why he’s even in the North at all. “When was the last time you fought for anyone but yourself?” she asks. “Fought for you, didn’t I?” he shoots back. SEE ABOVE NOTE RE: THEON, GAME OF THRONES. Beric joins them and starts invoking the Lord of Light until The Hound shuts him up, then Arya leaves, saying she’s not going to spend her final hours with them.
But she will put those last moments before the chaos to good use. When Gendry finds her to deliver the weapon she requested, he tells her that he’s Robert Baratheon’s bastard and about that freaky leech thing Melisandre did to him way back when. This leads to a conversation about Gendry’s conquests — which number three, in addition to the priestess — and also to Arya saying this: “We’re going to die soon. I want to know what it’s like before that happens.” Oh, also, this: “I’m not the Red Woman. Take your own bloody pants off.” And pretty soon, he’s smelting her iron ore, if you catch my drift.
HOUSE MORMONT | After Jorah and Lyanna argue about whether or not she’ll fight with the rest of the men (ha!), Sam approaches the older man and gives him the Tarly family sword. It’s also very touching.
Meanwhile, Podrick (who has a lovely singing voice) serenades his group, Theon and Sansa hang out, Arya looks sober while Gendry sleeps off his sweet love hangover, Jorah mounts up for battle and Grey Worm passionately kisses Missandei before running out to march with his men.
And in the castle’s crypts, Daenerys finds Jon standing in front of the resting place of Lyanna Stark. She launches into how everyone told her her brother Rhaegar was decent and kind, but “he raped her.” Jon corrects her. “He didn’t. He loved her. They were married in secret. After Rhaegar fell in the Trident, she had a son. Robert would’ve murdered the baby if he ever found out,” he explains, laying out that he is the son in question. “My name, my real name, is Aegon Targaryen,” he says, and she pulls away, saying it’s impossible. Then he does the math for her that we all know, but she is skeptical that his sources are “your brother and your best friend.” She quickly zeroes in on the fact that he’s got a claim to the Iron Throne… and then they hear the alarms outside: The dead are here.
Outside, as Tyrion watches from the top of a wall, the army of the dead approach. All right, wight-ies, let’s get in formation!
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode?